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Books: Joseph Bottum: ‘The Christmas Plains’

If you’re hunting for a holiday gift for family and friends on your list, then a series of events celebrating Joseph Bottum’s new book could provide the perfect present — namely, “The Christmas Plains,” a compilation of Mr. Bottum’s reflections on Christmases growing up in South Dakota. Released in October, the book expands upon a short book sold exclusively for the Amazon Kindle titled “Dakota Christmas,” a collection of stories in the same vein. The former editor of First Things and former literary editor of The Weekly Standard, the esteemed essayist has since moved back to South Dakota but will be in the District this week for a number of lectures and book signings. On Sunday, Mr. Bottum will sign books at the National Shrine, and on Wednesday, at the Catholic Information Center. On Monday, he will give a lecture at Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center, titled “The Mysticism of Small Things: Recognizing the Eternal in the Events and Objects of Every Day.”

Sunday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Ave. NE

Phone: 202/526-8300


Monday at the Alan P. Kirby Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies & Citizenship, 227 Massachusetts Ave. NE

Phone: 202/600-7300

Web: . RSVP required.

Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Catholic Information Center, 1501 K St. NW

Phone: 202/783-2062


Film: ‘The Nutcracker’ in 3D

“The Nutcracker” is as essential to the holiday season as the Nativity and “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” You simply can’t get through December without hearing Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” or revisiting the story of Clara and her nutcracker prince, who defeats the wicked Mouse King and his army. First performed by the Russian Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in 1892, the ballet has since seen countless adaptations worldwide, including the Washington Ballet’s celebrated version starring George Washington as the leading man. If you’re looking for the classic version but can’t get to Russia this year, you can see it on area silver screens for one day only, performed by the Mariinsky Theatre’s pre-eminent company, founded by Catherine the Great. This isn’t an ordinary film of a ballet, however, as certain showings will feature 3-D effects — so leave your opera glasses at home.

Monday at area cinemas

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